In the cars of the future, will we all be wearing VR headsets?

Startup Holoride drove us to Las Vegas, wearing a virtual reality helmet. Thanks to a special sensor, the feeling of nausea can be avoided, regardless of movement.

BMW had proposed in November 2022 to some journalists drive a car with a mixed reality headset on your head. A funny experience in which Numerama took part, although it is unlikely that this practice will become normal one day.

IN Las Vegas CES, organized in early January 2023, German startup Holoride takes a different approach. It leaves the driver alone, but wants to immerse the passengers in a virtual reality adapted to the car, so that they care about the travel time. Thanks to a dedicated motion tracking sensor, it thinks it can eliminate the feeling of nausea normally caused by virtual reality we just move a lot. Numerama has tested this ridiculous technology that Holoride thinks is destined to become standard in cars of the future.

A simulation that stops at the same time as the car

All car manufacturers seem to agree on one thing: cars will become entertainment. Just look prototype of Sony and Honda to measure the extent of the phenomenon. The two Japanese want to put screens everywhere to occupy all the passengers. This trend is felt especially at CES where company specializing in infotainment equipment for cars are trying to present themselves, while all the manufacturers present are also betting on screens to make the experience more satisfying.

Holoride wants to go much further by replacing screens with virtual reality headsets. His theory is as follows: passengers are bored and don’t necessarily want to look at the road. The founders of the company see virtual reality as the best way to solve this problem. Thus, it allows you to temporarily disconnect from the trip and do something else (play, watch a movie, etc.)

Normally, driving in virtual reality should make you want to puke. But thanks to a sensor that Holoride markets at a price of 199 euros (integrated directly into the cars of its partners, such as Audi), the brand has found a way to send driving information to virtual reality headsets (here, a HTC Vive Flow). Consequently, when the car brakes, it seems that the virtual environment we are in also slows down. The same when you turn or move your head, it’s like being on a virtual road.

The Holoride sensor attaches to the windshield. // Source: Numerama

Of course, Holoride’s product would be of no interest if one were content to be on a virtual road. What makes it strong is that you can play video games in 2D or 3D (with a controller), use apps on your smartphone or watch streaming movies. The dive is really successful, we absolutely did not want to vomit.

Could Holoride really become the norm in the future? For certain uses, like video games, why not. We can also imagine virtual reality finding a place on long journeys, even if Holoride says it wants to focus on cars and not develop anything for planes and trains. The whole point is to know if virtual reality can become indispensable, or if it will remain special.

Numerama is in Las Vegas for CES 2023

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